Athens, GA (Dec 26, 2007) - Now that the NFL Network has entered into an agreement to allow CBS and NBC to televise this Saturday's New England Patriots vs. New York Giants game, the fallout has begun. WWOR-TV in New York paid for the right to carry the over-the-air broadcast for the New York Metro market, as did WCVB-TV for the Boston market.
The investment that has been made by these stations is now essentially worthless as NBC and CBS now have the right to broadcast the games live. It is not known whether or not the two networks had to pay for these rights. Meanwhile WWOR-TV is not taking this well. In a statement, WWOR-TV said,
“The NFL is in clear violation of their agreement with WWOR/My9. We fully expect the league to honor their commitment to My9 as the exclusive free over-the-air broadcaster for Saturday’s telecast of the New England Patriots at New York Giants game.”
If it does go to court, it is not clear what the outcome will be. One unnamed sports journalist has speculated that at most, the network broadcasts will be blacked out in those two markets only so that the local stations would be made whole on their investment. In a statement, NFL Network spokesman Seth Palansky said that the NFL network is "in the process of reviewing the situation as it relates to Channel 9. [WWOR-TV]."
It is also not known why Fox and ESPN are not part of this "historic" deal. Eye on Sports Media sent an e-mail inquiry on this question to Mr. Palansky shortly after the announcement. A reply has not yet been received. It is not likely that one will be received as the NFL has said there would be no further comment on the matter.
It will be interesting to see which network brings in the higher ratings outside of the New York and Boston markets. It will be more interesting to see if those people who already have access to the NFL Network will watch it on NBC or CBS.